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3 takeaways from Falcons vs Cardinals

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Winning by 19 points is fun as it happens.

Arizona Cardinals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After an awful game against the Eagles, the Falcons really needed to get a win on Sunday. Thankfully, they did so in impressive fashion, putting up 38 points against one of the best defenses in the league en route to a 19 point victory. It was a game with lots of positives, even if the first quarter was frustrating to watch. Here are some key takeaways from the game.

Hello Taylor

Is there a better feel good story than that of Taylor Gabriel? The short, yet wickedly fast receiver was cut by the Browns after the preseason (the Browns!) and was surprisingly picked up by the Falcons in waivers. All he’s done since getting here is take over the WR3 spot in impressive fashion.

He added to his impressive season with his best game so far. He took two different screen passes to the house for 2 TDs on the day. When you include his impressive run as well, he had over 100 yards of total offense on the day.

Having a player with his kind of speed changes the complexion of the offense. Teams now realize they have to account for him when he’s on the field. When you combine teams selling out to stop Julio, his contributions become critical. So far, he’s delivered impressively.

Young players on D show promise again

Vic Beasley. De’Vondre Campbell. Jalen Collins. Deion Jones. Brian Poole. All of these guys are either in their first or second year and all of them contributed to the win on Sunday. Beasley was disruptive, getting into Palmer’s face all day long. Campbell played well in coverage and had the game ending interception. Collins played fairly well with Desmond Trufant out. Deion Jones stuffed several runs. Brian Poole played well against Larry Fitzgerald and added a key sack.

This is not a “good” defense - not yet. However, these players are showing that there’s reason to believe they could eventually be. There are still some missing pieces to be sure, but there is a core of youth on this defense that has a tremendous amount of promise. If they can continue to improve this year, this unit could be a deciding factor in making (and progressing in) the playoffs.

What’s up Julio?

For the second time this year, Julio Jones watched a pass bounce off his hands and into the hands of a waiting defender for a touchdown. In both cases, the INTs almost certainly lead to a flip in the scores. The Falcons could have potentially gone up 20-10 going into the half (at least), but the INT gave the Cardinals the opportunity they needed to keep it close at 17-13. Obviously, the other drop was against the Seahawks, and we all know how that game ended.

Julio also had a key drop against the Eagles in a drive that could have put the Falcons back in the game. This is becoming an unfortunate theme this year.

If the Falcons are going to make noise in the playoffs, we can’t have one of our best players costing us in this fashion. I know that every player makes mistakes, but these just seem so incredibly out-of-character for an otherwise outstanding player. Let’s hope he can get it corrected as the season comes to a close.

What are your takeaways from the game against the Cardinals?